QGBC’S Vision For Creating A Smart And Healthy City

Qatar is currently witnessing unprecedented urban development, from the establishment of Lusail City and the development of downtown Doha, to the inception of numerous infrastructure projects, the need to incorporate smart technologies in city planning in an effort to move towards establishing a healthy city is becoming vital.

Retrofitting Doha to become a truly smart city requires the development of a comprehensive long-term strategy with active participation from all the relevant stakeholders in the public and private sectors. In Doha’s context, a smart city will fully support healthy living in all aspects including water and energy conservation, healthy air quality, increased community interaction and active lifestyle. The use of state-of-the-art technologies, such as smart water management system, intelligent and automated air, noise and waste management systems, and real-time communication mechanisms, will eventually help Doha move closer to realizing its vision of a smart and healthy city.

In an effort to conceptualize the development of a smart and healthy city amidst the ongoing infrastructural development, experts at Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC), last year devised a comprehensive guide ‘Doha: A Rough Guide to Healthy Cities’.  The Guide, http://qatargbc.org/interest-groups/green-infrastructure, tackles the issue of the environmental health of urban areas which is becoming increasingly important to the world’s population as a majority of people are shifting towards inner cities.

Highlighting the benefits of planning and designing a healthy city, the non-technical infographic provides design and planning professionals, senior school students and advocates of sustainable development, with interesting guidelines on how to create a healthy city.

The key for QGBC and relevant stakeholders is to foster education around this subject to help create behavioural change in the process. This infographic is a starting point for such practices, which need to be further highlighted through national dialogues, the likes of Arab Future Cities Summit, the Qatar Green Building Conference, and the Qatar Sustainability Week.  Such efforts will foster the development of green infrastructure as a national resource capable of delivering a wide range of environmental, economic and social benefits.

by Meshal Al Shamari, Director – QGBC

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4 Ground-breaking Use Cases of Smart Data using HPC

High Performance Computing has primarily been applied within scientific research, the financial world and relatively recently also to forecast the weather. The financial services industry was the first commercial industry to adopt HPC. Nowadays you will find the most advanced HPC systems trading stocks in nano-seconds and generating massive amounts of money for their owners.

Banks have used HPC for pricing exotic financial instruments, optimizing their portfolios of mortgage-backed securities and managing firm-wide global credit and debit risks.  But there are more use cases for HPC in combination with Smart Data:

Fraud Detection

Fraud detection is an extremely important area for the financial industry. Millions of dollars could be saved if suspicious transactions are stopped before they occur. To do this, millions of transactions across the globe should be analysed in real time. The problem is that algorithms will need to find unknown patterns within that data, which could indicate a fraudulent transaction.

It requires not only analysing millions of transaction, but also many other data sources that offer the right context for a certain transaction. For example, is a certain credit card transaction valid or not. That not only depends on the transaction itself, but also for example on the location or the moment of the transaction.

One company that deals with these volumes is PayPal. On a daily basis, they deal with 10+ million logins, 13 million transactions and 300 variables that are calculated per event to find a potential fraudulent transaction. Thanks to High Performance Data Analytics, PayPal saved in their first year of production over $700 million in fraudulent transactions that they would not have detected previously.

Personalized Medicines and Drug Discovery

Already I mentioned the possibilities of personalized medicines and how it requires HPC. Although personalized medicines might still be quite far away, the pharmaceutical industry is already using High Performance Computing for drug design and discovery.

Drug design and discovery is a tedious process. It can easily require several years or longer before a drug hits the market. This is due to rigorous testing in labs on animals and later humans before it is made available to the masses.

High Performance Computing in combination with Big Data enables the pharmaceutical industry to find, for example, the right proteins for a certain drug among millions of compounds. This can be done thanks to simulation analysis and testing a plethora of varieties on thousands of different virtual patients. Thus, drug discovery can be reduced with multiple years, eventually saving a lot of lives.

Smart Energy Grids

Smart energy grids might still be long away; already multiple energy companies are experimenting with the possibilities of a smart energy grid. The potential of a truly smart energy grid is tremendous; reduced energy consumption, better and safer electrical grids and a safer and cleaner environment. Thanks to HPC, smart energy grids are becoming a reality.

A smart energy grid deals with massive amounts of data from a wide variety of sources, all located in a highly disperse network. Imagine if every household would have a truly smart energy meter and at every single moment in time, it is measured how much energy they use, from which devices, for how long and at what price. Multiplied by millions of households, we are easily talking exabytes of data that need to be analysed in real-time to determine whether someone is allowed or not to charge his/her electrical car. That can only be done using a HPC infrastructure and a High-Performance Data Analytics environment.

Manufacturing Simulation Analysis

From the beginning, HPC has been involved in the modelling and simulation of complex physical and quasi-physical systems. Modelling and simulation analysis enables an organization to gain a better understanding of a certain project, without the need to actual test the product in real-life. Thanks to this approach for example, Tesla was able to have the early edition of the Tesla Roadster pass dozens of tests, without the need for dozens of cars that could be crashed (as is traditionally done in the automotive industry).

What Tesla did during developing the Tesla Roadster has become common practice for Tesla. But also in other industry, simulation analysis can save companies a lot of money when developing new products. Thousands of iterations can quickly be tested taking into account hundreds of different variables. Based on the outcome of each simulation, the eventual product is improved. High Performance Computing is required to perform these millions of simulations, at least if you want to get it done relatively quickly.

Other Industries

Of course, these four industries are just the beginning of what is possible. Basically, any organization that wants to make serious business from Big Data could use HPC and HPDA.

Other industries that are already using High Performance Computing are among other the Space industry, Engineering (Oil and Gas) industry, Defence, Publishing industry, governments (think the NSA) and of course academia. In the years to come, this list will probably become a lot longer.

Author: Mark van Rijmenam

Mark van Rijmenam is Founder of Datafloq. He is a highly sought-after international public speaker, a Big Data strategist and author of the best-selling book Think Bigger – Developing a Successful Big Data Strategy for Your Business. He is named a global top 10 Big Data influencer. Currently, he also pursues a PhD at University of Technology, Sydney on how organizations should deal with Big Data, Blockchain and (Human) AI.

Big Data making small wonders in the Middle East.

With immense growth in technology, financial institutes, skyscrapers and malls, one can find that the number of consumers have increased exponentially in the Middle East over the past few years. Reports suggests that 91% of the population comprises of expats in UAE enjoying high salaries and tax free benefits.

Moreover, the options to spend your money have gotten bigger and better with UAE working towards the initiative to build Smart Cities setting strong infrastructure fundamentals in future. The trend to market anything and everything to consumers has gradually moved to attract customers with personalized services. In order to achieve that, businesses need to collate, maintain and manage the BIG volumes of DATA to provide efficient and effective service and engage them further to boost up revenues.

With each company wanting to cater real time promotions, it’s challenging to get such large volume of data in a structured way, able to read and analyze it and finally use it to implement new marketing strategies, product development or for better customer service.

So, how are these companies going to deliver the real time promotions and services to their customers?

The answer lies in turning Big Data into Smart Data. Big Data comes from your mobile phones, Facebook likes, You Tube videos shared, emails, PDF files, white paper downloaded, sensor chips embedded in your car and much more. The insights gleaned by big data can create smart opportunities deepening customer engagement, optimize operations, mitigate risks, and capitalize new sources of revenues. Smart Data is slowly gathering its hold in GCC region with IT companies providing solutions in retail, oil and gas, banking and hospitality industry improving business performance, underpinning new opportunities for growth. Penetration reached through analyzing transaction data, social sites, foot traffic and in-store checkout wait times have led to shifts in decision making and in-store tactics.

IT analyst firm IDC forecasts immense growth in the area, with the market expected to reach $16.9 billion in 2015 up from $3.2 billion in 2010. The growth will come from companies that are already making plans to extract intelligence from BIG DATA business analytics and from businesses complying with data storage regulations. Large investments will be made in the coming year to build infrastructure to store big data in order to deliver a lucrative platform from which structured information can be delivered in an insightful manner.

Earlier this year, Ericsson reported that consumers will be using 15 times more data by 2017 than they do today. There will be 3 billion smartphone subscriptions, 5 billion mobile broadband subscriptions and 9 billion mobile subscriptions. By 2020 there will be 50 billion connected devices worldwide.

According to IBM, “Big data is so big, in fact, that 90% of it was created in the past two years alone”.

Harnessing such huge volumes of data is going to be a challenge. Big players like IBM, EMC etc. have already recognized UAE as one of the potential market for Big Data and are trying to penetrate further with better technology and services. However, the Middle East is already experiencing too many BIG DATA players in the market and it is vital for any company to do their due diligence before making an investment.

Focusing on such knowledge sharing and networking, Dubai will be hosting Smart Data Summit 2014 on 19th and 20th May, 2014. Connecting senior executives and decision-makers from medium to large organizations across the Middle East region, Smart Data Summit are for those dedicated to making the most out of their valuable data assets leading to better management decisions.

http://www.smartdatadubai.com

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